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Johnny Depp Pays Tribute After Death of Terminal Young ‘Pirates’ Fan

Johnny Depp Honors Captain Kori
Images Credit: Family of Captain Kori

In 2003, Disney released its newest live-action film, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. The film starred Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, who is now one of the most iconic and popular characters Depp has played. The Curse of the Black Pearl was such a hit that Disney made four more Pirates films — Dead Man’s Chest, At World’s End, On Stranger Tides, and Dead Men Tell No Tales. While Depp and Disney do not have a great relationship at the moment, that doesn’t stop the actor from thanking those who love his character.

Depp return to Disney

Credit: Disney

In the years since he has played Captain Jack, Depp has donned the costume more than once for children going through serious health issues. Depp developed a special bond with one of those children — Kori Stovell. Stovell was a huge Captain Jack fan who was battling a heart condition that he was born with. Kori’s story went viral when Depp became Captain Jack once again and FaceTimed the young fan. Depp had been contacted about Kori through the Make A Wish foundation and happily obliged.

Johnny Depp Captain Jack Sparrow

Credit: Kraken the Box YouTube

Sadly, we have learned that Kori has passed away after spending months in palliative care. Depp was heartbroken to learn of Kori’s passing and posted a heartfelt tribute to the 11-year-old on his Instagram stories.

Sail on my fellow Captain! You honored us with your life. You humbled and amazed us with the courage and strength to be able to smile through it all. You’ve shown every one of us how to stay ahead of the curve with grace, humor, an incomprehensible understanding and unparalleled dignity. You are a warrior, mate… We will meet again on the highest of seas… All my love and respect to you and your family, always!!! X JD

Johnny Depp Captain Kori tribute

Credit: Johnny Depp Instagram

According to Kori’s family, the young Pirates fan was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, which means that the left side of his heart was underdeveloped at birth. Kori had two heart transplants — one in 2018 and one in 2020 — but his body rejected the new heart both times. During his surgeries and during his recovery, Kori loved watching all the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Despite his illness, Kori always had a smile on his face and saw the best in everything.

Kori Stovell

Credit: Stovell Family

Kori’s mother said that the family is “broken beyond belief”, but that Kori died peacefully, with a pirate flag draped over him. We send our heartfelt condolences to the entire Stovell family on Kori’s tragic passing.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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